Before Kentucky lawmakers return to Frankfort on Wednesday to complete the final two days of the 2022 legislative session, Gov. Andy Beshear issued his final list of line-item vetoes for legislative and executive branch budgets passed by the General Assembly.
Legislators will have the opportunity to accept or override those vetoes this week. Anything he did not veto within the budget now becomes law. Beshear noted with these announcements, his office has now taken action on every single piece of legislation sent to his desk thus far.
This next two-year state budget is different than most crafted in the past because Kentucky currently has a huge revenue surplus due in part to federal aid, increased growth rate in recent years, as well as significant investments. The state’s “rainy day fund” is also the largest it has ever been going into the budgeting process.
Beshear said there is a lot to celebrate in this budget and he called it one of the better budgets in the state’s history. But he said there are areas where it doesn’t “meet the moment,” mainly pointing to his desire to give a raise to Kentucky teachers and funding for universal pre-K.
As for what he rejected out of the budget, Beshear announced he is mainly making technical corrections with his line-item vetoes but also highlighted his decision to remove the 8% raise in the legislative budget that would apply to lawmakers in the 2023 session and beyond.
The Governor also commented on how he was displeased that the Legislature did not fund the Commission on Women. He also made remarks that the Unemployment office has been severely under-funded and that this has caused concerns in processing claims.
Beshear was asked what he hoped would get passed in the final days, and he responded with medical marijuana and sports betting. He said he was happy with the changes made to the medical marijuana bill, and he believes it is time for those to get access to it who need it. As for sports wagering, he says “everyone else has it” speaking to the states that border the Commonwealth, and he believes it is time for it as well.
Meanwhile, Beshear touted the following investments in the final budget:
- Water and sewer improvements
- Expanding high speed internet
- Money for major infrastructure projects
- Building a site identification and investment program to attract new businesses to Kentucky communities
- Money to help renovate Kentucky vocational centers
- Reinvestment in higher education
- Bucks for Brains funding
- A significant raise for state employees
- Increased funding to child advocacy centers, rape crisis centers, and more
- Money to help seniors and foster care children
- Investments in Kentucky veterans
Stay tuned to the Bottom Line for more updates.